In today’s age of social media, information about prospective candidates is more readily available online, and recruiters will go beyond the traditional reference check phone call in search of anything about you. This involves accessing and scrutinising your social media activity, and gathering as much information to use to gain an idea of your character. Furthermore, this research probably occurs before they have even met you. It’s important to ensure that you manage your social media activity in the right way, to support your brand and not inadvertently damage it in any way.
Social media is, therefore, a great way to promote your personal brand. The more you put yourself out there and get involved, certainly from a business perspective, the more likely you will be found. Engaging with good quality content that is relevant and meaningful to your career and industry can further demonstrate your passion and dedication. Remember, it is about being noticed and standing out from your competition. Some things to keep in mind are as follows:
1. Facebook is for Friends
Do not consider work colleagues as friends. Keep it personal; it is safer not to add anybody from work, just in case there is that one day that you come home and post about how much you hate your boss. You should regularly check your privacy settings to confirm they are just that. You could change your name so you can’t be found when prospective employers do their own background research on you. This is one method used to determine whether or not they want to interview you.
If you don’t wish to change your privacy settings or name, avoid posting inappropriate or offensive pictures, videos or comments. Instead, discuss interesting and current industry issues that provoke conversation and thinking. Try to avoid public argument about controversial topics such as racism, politics, religion and terrorism, for example. Avoid posting negative comments, direct or indirect, about your boss, employer, industry, working day, or colleagues at all times. Share positive posts – nothing that can be criticised or be open to misinterpretation.
2. LinkedIn is for Work
Here is where you market yourself for business purposes. Ensure your profile is up to date and that all titles, tenures and employers, as well as your skills, training and education, are consistent with your resume. Your profile must read professionally and contain no spelling mistakes or other errors. Use a professional, recent photograph of yourself. I suggest having a mentor read over your profile to ensure it presents you in the best possible light.
3. Twitter is Terrific
Following people in your industry on Twitter enables you to stay abreast of various industry issues and events. Tweeting about your industry topics also shows your activity and is a good conversational point during your interview. I have only recently joined and I have found it an invaluable tool in learning more about what’s going on in HR and other industries globally, and other areas of particular interest for me, such as authors and music.
4. Date on the DL
Everybody’s doing it these days, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of (unless, of course, you’re married or in a committed relationship), but it has been known to occur that people come across people they know on internet dating sites. Whilst your photograph is going to be a dead giveaway, try to select an appropriate username, and in your profile, try not to come across as too desperate, sleazy, or slutty. (DL = down low, as in, on the quiet.)
Further information on managing social media and self-marketing is contained in my book 101 HR Hot Tips: Handy Secrets for Success in the Workplace. Purchase it here.
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Need a social media and self-marketing health check? See www.harlandhansen.com for more information about coaching services I provide.